I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time!! I am so excited about this project.
Way back in August, my brother got married. And there was no question that I was going to be there! But the wedding was far, far away, and our boy was just 6 weeks old. We decided to drive, rather than fly (still not sure whether our decision was the best one…but we made it!!), so I wanted to make sure our girl was well-stocked with activities for the car. As Husband and I brainstormed all sorts of ideas, we decided we should have some sort of lap desk for her. This project started out as a simple magnetic dry erase board with a few colored dry erase markers. And then it became so much more!
Even though I had negative free time, I knew I wanted to make this a really special lap desk. I had an idea in my mind to add pockets on the sides so that she could put her markers and other activities into them. While I nursed my baby boy, I dreamed about designs. A search on Pinterest for “lap desk for car” yielded a lot of results. There was one that looked almost exactly like my theoretical lap desk. The pin led to a post on the “Mer Mag” blog which had lots of different views of her creation, and in reading the text of the post, I found another post on her blog where she’d written a skeletal tutorial to construct the car lap desk. It was exactly what I needed to boost my sleep-deprived-mama-brain into gear to make my lap desk. I mean, my daughter’s lap desk! ;-)
My sweet husband helped me to put together enough moments to make the desk in time for our car trip. I still have no idea how we managed to find me the time!
I am so extremely proud of how this thing turned out!
Here are the features:
The lap desk is fully washable. The magnetic white board is tied onto the top with narrow ribbon. A piece of cardboard slips into a fabric pocket underneath the white board to add stability, and it also adds enough width so that the hanging pockets clear the sides of V’s car seat. An envelope pillowcase attached to the underside of the desk holds a small pillow so that the desk sits on a bit of padding on her lap. If it needs to be laundered, I can remove the whiteboard, cardboard, and pillow and throw the whole thing into the washing machine.
There is a handle so that it can be carried more easily. The pocket that encases the cardboard is closed with loops of narrow elastic that secure a row of colorful, mismatched buttons (which intrigue V– bonus!). On each side, there are hanging zippered pockets for storage of things like markers and a rag for wiping the whiteboard. On the outside of the zippered pockets, I added more pockets, and two of them are held open by a bit of boning to make them wide-mouthed. I didn’t want my daughter to struggle to put her things into them.
With the exception of the whiteboard and the narrow yellow ribbon, I made the lap desk entirely out of materials I had on hand. The black and white chevron fabric was originally destined to become cloth napkins, but I am so much happier that it became this project!
This lap desk was such a hit!! V absolutely loved coloring on it with the (washable) whiteboard markers, and Husband had the brilliant idea to transform some adorable dimensional animal stickers into magnets (we simply glued plain round magnets to the backs of the stickers). V had a grand time placing them all on the whiteboard and moving them around. We didn’t even need to break out the magnetic alphabet, since V was so intrigued with the markers and the animal magnets! As she gets older, I can see attaching coloring pages and activity sheets to the whiteboard with magnets so that she can work on them. On every subsequent car trip (which have been much shorter in length, thankfully!), V has requested her lap desk, and we are more than happy to see her coloring on it or playing with the magnets!
I took really detailed notes as I constructed the desk, as well as a ridiculous number of photos. I want to make one for my little boy when he is old enough to need one (thankfully I have at least a year or two ;-)). Maybe I’ll even write a tutorial post… but if Ido, it won’t be for a while. It already took me almost a month to get most of the photos of the finished lap desk (just two were taken on our road trip, the rest were “staged” when the car was in our driveway at home a month later), and two months to get these photos on the blog!